British artist Grayson Perry won the prestigious Erasmus Award, also known as ‘Dutch Nobel Prize’ – as well as the $165,000 monetary reward.
The Erasmus Awards are one of the most prestigious awards in the world, famously known as the Dutch equivalent of the Nobel Prizes. Some of its past winners include filmmaker Ingmar Bergman, writer Simon Wiesenthal and theorist Claude Lévi-Strauss. The award is rarely given to artists, but some of its illustrious recipients include names like Renzo Piano and Jean Prouvé (architecture) and Bernd and Hilla Becher (photography). Now, Grayson Perry finds himself in the tall company.
The Erasmus Award is maintained by the Praemium Erasmianum Foundation, based in Amsterdam. Perry won not just the award, but also the €150,000 (~ $165,000) reward along with it. Perry became the first UK artist to win this award since 1968. In their statement, the foundation said that “at a time when we are constantly bombarded with images, Perry has developed a unique visual language, demonstrating that art belongs to everybody and should not be an elitist affair.”
Grayson Perry is currently one of the most high-profile British artists around. He has made wood casts, prints, cast iron sculpture and even houses – the most iconic being the A House For Essex. The themes of his works often work around subverting the social norms of British society, often expressed through his feminine alter ego Claire. Perry also has a long list of awards to his name. Apart from Erasmus, he won the Turner award in 2003. He has also won the BAFTA award for his documentaries.